Executive Branch

Key GOP Negotiators Doubt Immigration Deal Materializes This Week

Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, a key negotiator on immigration talks, doubts there will be some sort of deal this week, despite Democrats' saying they won't support a funding bill if it does not contain immigration provisions. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

A key Senate negotiator and White House official on Tuesday expressed little hope for an immigration deal this week but nonetheless predicted that Congress can avoid a government shutdown.

“I think we’re optimistic that we’ll get a deal. I think this week would be fairly Herculean,” White House legislative affairs director Marc Short told reporters Tuesday after a meeting with staff of the No. 2 congressional leaders.

Democrats Won’t Support CR Without DACA Deal, Hoyer Says
On Trump: ‘What he does is racist. If what you do is racist, you certainly qualify for being a racist.’

House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer, D-Md. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Democrats are unlikely to support a stopgap spending bill this week without protections for young undocumented immigrants known as Dreamers, House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer said Tuesday.

“I think it needs to be in the CR,” Hoyer said of protections for Dreamers.

GOP Leaders Under the Gun to Avert Partial Shutdown
As hope for DACA deal shrivels, Republicans stare down Friday deadline

The fate of the DACA program is one of many issues affecting the shutdown talks. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Updated 6:05 p.m. | Congress began the week with growing uncertainty about the effort to pass another temporary spending bill, even as the prospect of a partial government shutdown loomed.

No budget talks were held over the long weekend after the breakdown in negotiations last week, people familiar with them said. Talks had stalled over the fate of roughly 690,000 “Dreamers” — young adults brought to the United States illegally as children who are currently shielded from deportation by the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA.

Top DHS Official Says She ‘Did Not Hear’ Trump’s ‘Shithole Countries’ Comment
Kirstjen Nielsen was present at White House meeting

Senate Minority Whip Richard J. Durbin is shown on a television monitor questioning Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen during the Judiciary Committee hearing on Tuesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The top official at the Department Of Homeland Security on Tuesday declined to say directly whether President Donald Trump used a vulgar slur to describe several foreign countries during a recent White House meeting with lawmakers on immigration that she attended.

Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen told the Senate Judiciary Committee she “did not hear” whether Trump referred to Haiti and African nations as “shithole countries” in last Thursday’s meeting with House and Senate lawmakers.

Supreme Court to Revisit Internet Sales Tax Ruling
Bipartisan group of lawmakers want previous decision overruled

From left, Sens. Michael B. Enzi of Wyoming, Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota and Richard J. Durbin of Illinois want the Supreme Court to overrule a decision that prevented states from collecting sales tax on internet purchases. (Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Supreme Court will decide whether businesses must collect sales tax on online transactions in states where they don’t have a physical presence, in a case closely watched by lawmakers, states and online retailers.

The case gives the justices a chance to reshape internet commerce, something Congress hasn’t done since the high court last ruled on the issue in 1992. Back then, the court barred states from collecting sales tax from vendors that were out of state.

More Democrats Say They’ll Skip Trump’s State of the Union
Lawmakers cite president’s ‘racist’ comments, say they’ll have ‘state of our union’ event

Rep. Frederica S. Wilson, D-Fla., will not attend President Donald Trump's State of the Union address later this month, joining four other Democrats in protest. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Add two more Democrats to the list of House members catting on President Donald Trump’s State of the Union address later this month.

Reps. Frederica S. Wilson and Pramila Jayapal announced over the weekend they will join three other lawmakers boycotting the event held in the House chamber of the U.S. Capitol.

Diaz-Balart Isn’t Saying What Trump Said
South Florida Republican rep says he wants to keep his seat at the table in discussing Dreamers

Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart, R-Fla., would not comment about whether President Donald Trump used the word “shithole” in describing the countries from which some immigrants are coming to the U.S. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Florida Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart said he would not delve into whether President Donald Trump called Haiti and African countries “shithole countries.”

Diaz-Balart was in the immigration meeting with other lawmakers in which Trump is reported to have made the remarks, but told Florida TV station WPLG he would not comment on whether Trump made them.

Schiff Wants Fusion GPS Transcript Released
Ranking House Intel member says Republicans have provided selective leaks of testimony

Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., says Republicans have provided selective leaks of Fusion GPS co-founder Glenn Simpson’s testimony. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

House Intelligence Committee ranking Democrat Rep. Adam Schiff is calling on Republican chairman Devin Nunes to release the transcript from the committee’s interview with Fusion GPS co-founder Glenn Simpson.

Schiff’s office said in a statement to Business Insider said he supported doing so because the role of Fusion GPS, an opposition research firm, has been mischaracterized after selective leaks of Simpson’s testimony.

Illinois House Primaries Will Be Early Testing Ground for Democrats
Democrats have several pickup opportunities, but they need viable candidates first

Democrats are confident they’ll have a general election nominee who can take on Illinois GOP Rep. Peter Roskam. The primary is on March 20. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

With early voting starting in less than a month, Illinois will be a testing ground for Democrats’ ability to nominate general election candidates they think can win out of crowded primaries. 

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is targeting four Republican-held districts, but the committee is not explicitly picking favorites in all those primaries. 

Why Congress Won’t Touch the 25th Amendment
Authors intended it for total incapacity and vice president needs to lead any move

President Donald Trump isn’t likely to face an attempt to remove him, using the 25th amendment. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

Pushing toward the pinnacle of defensive hyperbole by proclaiming himself “a very stable genius” has done more than anything to subject Donald Trump to speculation at the Capitol about how psychologically fit he is for the presidency.

Trump’s first comprehensive medical exam on Friday after a year in office, when his sedentary lifestyle and junk food habits have only been enabled, did not dispel worries by many congressional gym rats about the 71-year-old’s ability to withstand the job’s bodily strain.